Shaken Not Stirred

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

That Naked Dream

I've never had that often talked about dream of walking thru a school hallway or office department in my birthday suit. I know that movies/sit-coms sometimes make reference to it. But I don't think that sort of dream would bother me, or would be something that I would remember enough to discuss with anyone.

Last night I did however have a pretty terrifying dream. In the dream, I was in a hospital with a few colleagues and what appeared to be the chief of medicine. He was taking me and my colleagues on grand rounds. Each patient he showed us had a unique disease and he was telling us about standard diagnosis techniques and also first line medication. We came to a patient that had a certain malady and the attending turned to me and said, "how would you proceed doctor?". I immdediately froze. All eyes were upon me, all waiting for my knowledge. My armpits started to sweat--I'm never buying Speed Stick again. My throat closed up and in my dream the room went black.

I actually woke up with a light layer of sweat on my entire body. And I was breathing somewhat harder than I usually do. I think for me, this was my naked dream. It was a moment in time when I felt completely nude/vunerable.

When I was a fourth year medical student, a resident asked me to come with him on rounds with a certain "terror" attending. He said that maybe the guy wouldn't be so horrible in front of a medical student. He gave me some charts to look over and said that the physician would be arriving in about 30 minutes. I looked over the charts to familiarize myself with each patient--so I wouldn't be lost during the rounds or the possible barrage of questions that would follow.

The first few patients we attended to were not that bad. Maybe having a medical student come along was the trick--to pacify Doc Terror. Then we got to one of the last patients. Doc Terror asked the resident--"what is the clinical name for this disease". Simple enough. The resident thought for a moment, his eyes rolled upward as if a magic cheatsheet would appear on the ceiling. He said "I'm not sure". Doc Terror said, "what is a pathognomonic sign or symptom that would lead you to clinically diagnose this patient". I believe because of stumbling the first time, the resident became more flustered and unable to catch his balance completely fell. He opened the chart, he looked at the patient for any visible physical signs that he could blurt out.

A little frustrated, Dr. Terror then turned his fangs on me. He said, "what is the clinical name for this"? I told him rubeola. His voice became a little less gruff when he asked, "what signs or symptoms would the patient have". I told him koplik spots. He then turned to the resident and said something somewhat rude and left us with the patient. The resident turned to me and said "I don't know what happened to me".

I knew what happened. It is this complete vunerability that you feel when still in a learning process. The disease was simple and I knew he knew those answers. He was brilliant--I knew he was. He was constantly teaching me about laboratory findings, the way to proceed with each physical exam, and also new drugs. Other medical students turned to him with questions. I guess at that particular moment in time he was just living the "naked dream".


  • I don't remember many of my dreams, but I don't think I've had a naked dream. What I have had was a running dream.

    I was running through one of my old schools, it was a big, four story high school with two or three wings and many stairwells. I kept running in and out of classes, some of them my own, with my teachers and classmates in them, others with strangers, and still others completely empty, looking for something. But I didn't know what, not even in the dream. Just that I had to find something.

    What your resident went through, up here we call that a 'brain fart'; a mental freeze on something tht you know, you know you know, and you know you aren't going to know it at that moment.

    By Blogger blackcrag, at 12:20 PM  

  • Gotta tell you...with a title like "Naked Dream" I was expecting something else. ;)


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:26 PM  

  • You're resident friend is in fear of Dr. Terror to the point he or she is blanking out. I have no doubt that the Resident knows his or her stuff, but Dr. Terror is purposely putting him or her on the spot to cause a "choke" reaction. I think your resident friend should kick Dr. Terror in the groin. This will do two things, it'll level the playing field, and the resident Doctor will no longer be afraid of the once terror Dr. who's now writhing on the floor in pain.

    By Blogger Walter, at 12:36 PM  

  • Oh those Doc Terror dreams are the worst eh? I remember having dreams about an anatomy exam-like 4yrs later. Last night I had a bizzare dream. Tell you about it later!

    By Anonymous Babette, at 2:51 PM  

  • We've all had times in our lives when we suddenly freeze and forget what we're doing. The thing you have to remember is that you should never let that happen to you while you are performing surgery. Ever.

    By Blogger Gyrobo, at 7:49 PM  

  • sometimes it feels like my whole life is a "naked dream"! LOL!

    By Blogger sassyglass, at 12:41 AM  

  • Hello
    I had to come by because I saw what you answered on Shife's blog, and Hoosiers YES! Love that movie, have lived that movie.

    I don't remember my dreams ever, I have from time to time woken up heart pounding, and sweating but never remember why ho hum.

    That's cool you're a doctors, doctors saved my life so I like doctors

    By Blogger Phats, at 1:24 AM  

  • Great story! Loved this post.


    By Blogger Claire, at 6:40 AM  

  • I dreamed that I had a dream that I read your blog about the naked dream naked.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:32 PM  

  • naked nightmare - but yes, buy
    a new antipersperant (sp?)

    By Blogger sophie, at 4:46 PM  

  • hmmm
    naked, sweat covered bodies, dreams.....heart rates increased....what?

    By Blogger Badoozie, at 12:12 AM  

  • Have a wonderful weekend!

    By Blogger Lee Ann, at 2:02 PM  

  • I find when I am put on the spot and am not ready I say stupid things and ramble on, it's embarassing.

    By Blogger Big Ben, at 8:03 PM  

  • poor guy he was completely put on the spot

    that is a human thing to do...

    it does happen to the best of us

    By Blogger Cari, at 1:26 AM  

  • As someone who has personally lived this "naked dream" experience more times than I care to remember, I want to thank you for articulating it so beautifully. The current climate of medical education seems to believe that this paternalistic masichistic form of teaching is beneficial,... when it is actually serves as an artificial ego boost to insecure bullies. Thanks for sharing your experience... it definitely helps to know that I am not the only one... :-)

    By Anonymous Simi, at 9:35 PM  

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